Dutch magazine DJ Broadcast caught up with DJ Sneak for the lowdown on the I’m A House Gangster movement and the upcoming event during ADE.
With more than two decades into the house scene, the Puerto Rican original house instigator is now fronting the ‘I’m a House Gangster’ label collective. The first release dropped in March, adorned with erstwhile classic Chicago house. “Big dreams, goals, passion and hard work – that is the House Gangster way of life.”
On top of all that, Sneak managed to start a club night at Amersterdam’s Studio 80. The first edition took place on August 3rd with Mark Farina with the next installment scheduled in October during ADE. With an old school, classic line up penned for the impending showcase, DJB caught up with the house legend himself to find out more about his relationship with the Dutch capital.
What’s your relation to Amsterdam?
I’m Dutch! Carl Van Hensel is my real name, [laughs.] All joking aside, I have been almost considered a resident because I’m around Amsterdam all the time. Truth is there are a lot of things besides your flowers, I really like the food, people, lifestyle, nightlife, festivals and of course coffee Shops.
Musically Amsterdam is one of those must hit places in Europe and for me that happened back in 1993-94. I stay good with everything there, I respect the ways of life and I love to enjoy the best of Amsterdam when I can.
What made you decide to host a club night in Amsterdam?
After playing for so many people, I thought I would give a fair chance to help grow a healthy underground scene somewhere where the people also believe in it. Studio 80, as small as it is, creates this kind of playground to really be intimate and up close with the fans and new comers to underground house music. It’s the perfect spot for what I’m doing.
Can we expect any special guests in the coming editions?
There are many ‘homeeees’ that will eventually drop by and get down like house gangsters do, this is a family thing and I know a bunch that are ready to bring that krunked up house boogie! Stay in touch on the Sneak and the House Gangster networks to see who’s coming up next, we’ve got all kinds of big things planned.
What are your musical influences?
In the beginning it was all latin music while growing up in Puerto Rico. After, in Chicago, I was really exposed to one of the most diverse music loving cities in the whole USA. Chicago was my elementary school, my high school, and my University of house music and I had many teachers like Mike Dunn, Marshall Jefferson, Adonis, Ralphie Rosario, Farley Funk, etc.
Besides having these influences I also just schooled myself by listening to a solid selection of great radio stations. Listening was the way of fine tuning your ears to great music – jazz, R&B, soul, classics, we had it all. Chicago is still one of the best cities to learn about music.
What’s the idea behind ‘I’m a house gangster?/Gangsters paradise’ (your album)
I’M A HOUSE GANGSTER was created as a campaign to help us house music lovers stick together and survive through the many years of BAD music which dominated the scene. This idea was created years ago when I realized people were dissin’ house music, the sound and the culture simply because they were being spoon fed this new way of becoming a DJ and creating shit music.
This brand became the voice of many of us who believed that real house music would survive the trends and eventually things would level out to where we are today. House music is back but really it’s the PEOPLE that are coming back to it, because in reality, the real house sound didn’t go anywhere, it was just being used and abused. We at ‘House Gangster Mission Control’ support people that support house music, plain and simple. We constantly raise the bar to a level that people could set goals to. ‘If we can do it, you can do it too,’ that’s been our thing. Big dreams, big goals, true passion & hard work, that’s the House Gangster way of life.
The label was created as a way to expose the many great New & OG Producers and their music, we do our best to support and push this sound to the masses. The House Gangster Movement isn’t about any one individual, it’s about a collective of amazing DJs and Producers that create quality music with heart and passion. We do what we want, when we want, we get it ‘cause we claim it, and we can back it up with skills not hype.
Do you have any projects coming up in the near future?
Everything that has to do with DJ Sneak is an ongoing project. We have many things coming up, not only musically but with this lifestyle and culture we love. Merchandise, events, nights, tours etc. Stay on top of the stuff at djsneak.com and imahousegangster.com.